It’s almost unbelievable that most of the people who lived in the same apartment with America’s first Ebola patient are coming out of quarantine having fully recovered.
The patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, died of Ebola, and the two American nurses taking care of him got infected. However, there are some cases where infected people have survived; an infected Spanish nurse and four American health workers posted in West African States have dramatically recovered. It is also reported that not all the West Africans who contact the disease die.
Explanation for this dramatic recovery
The successful end of the quarantine for 43 individuals who had physical contact with the late Duncan confirms what many people think about the disease. One scholar from the University Of Texas School Of Public Health, Dr. Joseph McCormick argues that Ebola cannot be contacted so easily. While working with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. McCormick worked with a team entrusted with control of the first recorded Ebola outbreak in 1976, since then he has worked to contain a series of Ebola outbreaks, and diseases caused by related viruses.
Ebola spreads when a person’s body fluids contact those of an infected person, such as touching the eyes and nose with contaminated hands or through broken skin. On entering the body the virus launches series of attacks on the body’s immune system and triggers off its alarms. It then multiplies exponentially and infects many types of cells, it’s only until too late that the immune system recognizes it and retreats.
Symptoms do not appear until the virus load is very high, with the first ones being fever, pains in the muscles, sore throat and headache. It’s only after symptoms appear that one can start infecting others.
Researchers have not yet found out why this disease affects victims in different ways. McCormick argues that the time between infection and appearance of first symptoms depends on the amount of virus exposed to initially.
The World Health Organization has said that there is high load of the Ebola virus in feces, vomit and blood than any other body fluids.
To date there is no specific medication or treatment for Ebola, health specialists say that basic supportive care such as containing blood pressure, and providing intravenous nutrients and fluids helps the body to hit back on the virus and eliminate it.
Most Ebola patients become dehydrated because of excessive diarrhea and vomiting. In advanced stages it causes leaks in a patient’s blood vessels, and this eventually leads to a large drop in blood pressure and buildup of fluid in lungs.
McCormick recommends more fluid for they help keep up blood pressure, he discourages pushing patients into pulmonary edema because they literally may end up drowning.
Death normally results from shock and organ failure.
According to Dr. Bruce Ribner, the body depends on its defense mechanisms to contain the Ebola virus. Ribner is in charge of the Atlanta Emory University Hospital infectious disease unit, which has successfully treated three patients and currently is treating a Dallas Nurse.
He said that what they basically do is to keep the patient alive for long enough to allow the body successfully fight off the infection.
Doctors in charge of Ebola treatment units at Nebraska and Emory Medical Centers, both of which have history of having carried out successful treatments, say they do not know the efficacy of their treatment. They suggest that their experimental treatments involve plasma transfusion from an Ebola attack survivor, or rare experimental drugs.
The chances of surviving an attack may as well depend how fast one seeks medical care. In some instances it is affected by uncontrollable factors. Basing our argument on McCormick’s research, we can argue that survival is partially dependent on the first reaction of the body to the attack, that is, whether most of white blood cells die before fighting off the virus. Some researchers have found out that genetic immune factors also determine the chances of survival.